Two Independent and four Democratic lawmakers announced on Thursday that they plan to launch impeachment proceedings against Maine Governor Paul LePage (R). Independent Representative Jeffrey Evangelos is spearheading the effort to impeach the governor for abusing his power.
I’m asking my fellow legislators to study abuse of authority, conduct unbecoming and possible misuse of public assets. I believe that Gov. LePage has violated his authority by intimidating a private entity with the end objective of violating speaker Eves’ civil rights, his ability to seek outside employment and provide for his family.
Governor LePage is accused of blackmailing the Good Will-Hinckley School board by threatening to withhold half a million dollars in funding if they extended a job offer to Democratic House Speaker Mike Eves.
LePage has not denied the accusations. Instead he has doubled down on attacking Eves. In a statement the governor subtly reiterated his blackmail threat by arguing:
To provide half-a-million dollars in taxpayer funding to a charter school that would be headed by Maine’s most vehement anti-charter-school politician is not only the height of hypocrisy, it is absolutely unacceptable.
Eves’ Attorney David Webbert is considering a lawsuit against the governor. In an interview, Webbert stated:
Under the First Amendment, the governor is clearly prohibited from using the money of our state government to exact revenge on public officials because they do not vote the way the governor wants. This is not how Maine’s system of government is supposed to work. The governor’s tyrannical behavior threatens our democratic institutions.
Governor LePage has consistently used bullying tactics to try to enforce his will on the state of Maine. However, his apparent attempt to blackmail a school district to settle a score with a political foe may prove the governor’s undoing. Maine lawmakers are gearing up to impeach their bully governor, and for many Maine residents, LePage’s removal from office can’t come soon enough.